Mormons and reality dating shows have been in the news this summer with the Mormon Bachelor online video series and ABC's "The Bachelorette" included a contestant with a family who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
An LDS Church member on a reality date show is also the premise of Karen Tuft's novel, "Reality Check."
Lucy Kendrick is fresh off her college graduation and job hunting when her friends, who aren't LDS, submit an application for her to be on "Soulmates" — and no one is more surprised than Lucy when she gets picked to be on the show. Soon she's off to Los Angeles vying for the attention and love of millionaire entrepreneur Ethan Glass.
She intrigues Ethan, who finds himself becoming more and more attracted to her, but his mind and heart aren't always in sync. As Lucy continues to win challenges and gets to spend time with Ethan, she finds herself falling harder for him.
She wants nothing short of a temple marriage and knows she'll have to share how important her religion is with Ethan — and she's not naïve about the chances of him changing for her. However, a creatively edited episode that takes an unsensational conversation about religion filmed in part with hidden cameras, shows Lucy in a less than stellar light and she is publicly humiliated.
It will take more than an on-camera apology from Ethan to make things right.
In all, "Reality Check" is a clean love story with a few twists and turns that is a fun read for an afternoon and almost leads the reader to believe the impossible in love is possible.
While "Soulmates" is the name of the fictional reality show, several characters in the book try to figure out what a soulmate is as they look at their relationships for what they want in a marriage. While no one definition is settled on, the term is frequently used throughout the novel in a variety of references. (Click here for President Spencer W. Kimballs thoughts on the matter.)
Ethan's father, Jed, a rancher, probably has the best sentiment on it: "I don't know anything about soulmates, as you call it, but I do know I've had a real partner who's stood through the good and the bad. And I'll keep her there with me always, if I'm lucky enough to have any say in the matter. I'd walk on coals if walking on coals meant I'd have her forever. I'd be that lost without her, and that's a fact."